I'm a permanent "vote by mail" person in California--which probably means that I'll be voting Democratic after I die--and I just filled out my ballot. California has some election peculiarities:
1. There are only 2 options for US Senator, and they're both Democrats. We hold our primaries in the Spring, and the top two vote-getters in the primaries advance to the general election ballot. Can you guess which party runs California?
2. Voters can submit initiatives to vote on, the most famous being 1978's Proposition 13 (which limits property tax increases). I don't know how many initiatives have been submitted over the years, but I do know that we reuse the numbers (so we don't have Proposition 1,857). This year propositions ranged from #51 to #67 and covered topics as varied as legalizing marijuana, requiring porn actors to wear condoms when filming, banning plastic grocery bags, eliminating the death penalty, and pricing prescription drugs, among others.
Clearly, I didn't vote for senator. And my default position on initiatives is to vote "status quo", which is usually "no". Unless I'm absolutely sure that the initiative has no chance of "going wrong", that it's so simple and obvious that it cannot be corrupted, I vote "no". Unless somethng is simple and obvious, big money will no doubt have its own way. I will only vote "yes" on an initiative if I can see no harm coming from it. As a result, on the 17 initiatives, I voted "yes" on only 2.
My school district put a bond measure on the ballot, one that's expected to win with 65% of the vote. It's for the equivalent of two years of the district's entire budget to upgrade, repair, and build new facilities. As they put such measures on the ballot every few years--measures that pass every time, despite obvious evidence that the district doesn't budget for maintenance properly--I voted "no". It doesn't matter, though, as it's only a protest vote, because as I said, it's expected to pass handily.
I almost always vote down bond measures. If there's an issue, the legislature should address it. If our schools are falling apart, the district and the county office of education should lobby the legislature for more funds. That's what the legislature is for. If the county wants to repair streets and expand light rail, the board of supervisors should vote on it and vote to raise taxes. Initiatives are the coward politician's way out of doing what they're elected to do. If Proposition 53 passes, which would require a statewide vote for state bond issues over $2 billion (direct response to the bullet train fiasco), politicians should vote for the project first, and then ask the public for the money. Make them go on record justifying an expenditure.
That's just my fantasy world, living as I do in the People's Republik of Kalifornia.